At KIOSK we feature the things that generally go unnoticed, everyday objects that are the result of local aesthetics and needs. Our motivation is to give attention to these anonymous objects and support independent producers around the globe.
We began KIOSK in New York City in 2005. At the time, downtown Manhattan was changing; the interesting, unique places filled with inspiration were quickly disappearing. We felt an urge to fill the void. We decided to create a place where people could look, learn, touch, and talk about what we were showing while also feeling free to wax on about anything in the world.
From the start we made a decision to be self-sustaining and KIOSK operated as a store to fund itself and our process of collecting. Over time our project has been thought of as a shop by some, a museum by others; an art installation as well. Almost everyone on their first visit would say, “What is this place?” It was always just “KIOSK”: our office, studio, an installation, a store, a happening, a workshop, a party, a whatever. We never completely define it: in that sense, the project is constantly changing. The ongoing common denominator is to show. The overriding goal: to share.
At the beginning we created some parameters in order to get things done. We decided to source the objects we found, one location at a time. Our format remains very simple: we research, go to a place, search for very basic, common, independently produced, vernacular objects, meeting and talking to people along the way. We bring the items back; present them in an exhibition format and sell our finds to fund the next expedition. Easy. We believe every object tells a story and everything we show opens a conversation.
Today we are looking for a home for our archive collection of 1,300 objects. Our goal is to establish a place for everyday objects, made by today’s cultures. Our hope is that our collection is the beginning of a repository of everyday material goods to be infinitely expanded on, studied and loaned.
We share what we collect to encourage every person to go out, meet, talk, learn, see and show. You don’t have to travel far; look up, down and around… when you open your eyes fascination is everywhere.
We think the best way to learn about KIOSK is to read what others have to say, their thoughts are below. If you have an opinion or thought for us, please be in touch, it would be great to hear from you.
"Each object in a KIOSK collection becomes a story, of how that object was found, what it means to its place of origin, how it’s used, and how it’s made. With each answer comes its own narrative, of the people responding to these questions, of their life and their relationship to the object. This work is as invaluable as it is rare. Among the many great things that KIOSK is, perhaps what makes it most significant is that it is an unprecedented document of international vernacular design and a platform for independent production—both makers and things—the value of which would otherwise be overlooked or unappreciated."
"Kiosk is… a tin foil flower painted pink and green, an ossified mushroom, a cookbook, and a prickly wooden teacup: all gathered together in a toolbox made of prism."
- J.R"The world is huge and hard to grasp, but Kiosk made me feel connected to other places and people through the carefully selected materialisation of thoughts and ideas that they had in their store. They heightened my sensitivity to how things are made and who makes them. Every time I use the Kiosk objects I feel this intimate relationship with the world. "
"Hunters of the world's extra ordinary vernacular artefacts for daily life... Window to the world. Anthropology in a shop."
"Our bodies are incomplete. We lack feathers for warmth or claws for cutting. But we can make up for our shortcomings with the perfect tools. Many of our favorite objects that we use daily in the kitchen and the workshop have come from the sharp eye of Alisa and Marco at KIOSK."
"Kiosk is a manic investigation of very small areas with worldwide scope. I have always gone in to buy presents and always find most of them in use at home. Portuguese hooks, Romanian felt shoes and aubergine smashers, sardines, notebooks brooms etc. We miss them desperately in New York."
"One night, walking past the over-lit Nike store on Spring Street, I was remembering Kiosk and thought, maybe it was a dream."
"The closest thing to Gonzo retail—all the makings of a shop, with legs and ambition to cross the seven seas. I’ve slept there once and it fed me too. A shop unto the world and a world within a shop."
- M.L ( another one )
"A monument to the finely crafted object, functional and otherwise."
"Kiosk to me is neon, birch trees, plastic, bird songs, bladerunner, orange and pink tape, cedar incense, polkagris, spicy japanese mints, tinsel, feather dusters, falling asleep in the hammock chair, christmas tree lights, glögg, metal, color, black and white, bells, courier new, inspiration, a place for everything, everything for a place, practicality, the everyday, the special occasion, a universe, a family!"
"Kiosk is that place where you learn more about the world, a world you would not have necessarily encountered if you went to the places Alisa and Marco went to. I am from Portugal, and she introduced me to objects/ideas I knew nothing about. TY KIOSK 4 EVA"
"Kiosk is notable in part because it is so difficult to describe and to pin down. Alisa and Marco bring a feeling and an art to what they do that impacts you squarely at a level that other retailers, if you can call them that, rarely if ever do. The presentation becomes a feeling and a real experience within their environments. Kiosk is immersive and fresh and something that feels like a big dollop of something that has been lost in our experience of a shop. Kiosk is nostalgic, artistic, personal and quirky, insightful, helpful, archival, an antidote, and a bit punk really. Those who follow and support them do so not as fans nor customers but as a bit of a cult. Long live Kiosk!"
- M. B
"All the furniture in my new apartment either I built or designed myself, which is something I never would have done if I hadn’t had what amounts to a Kiosk apprenticeship. Kiosk is an aesthetic but also what the Japanese refer to as a dō, a way of doing things/inventing things/seeing things and being things. Sure it’s my way too, but since I’ve known kiosk, it’s had a pernicious way of inhabiting my thoughts (and certainly my medicine and kitchen cabinets). I still have something planted in the blue one."
"Kiosk is the idea we all felt needed to exist but were all entirely too lazy to execute. Alisa and Marco did just the opposite: they didn't sit on the idea, they acted on it, they didn't half ass it, they did it fully (even living in the store for god's sake). They didn't stop after a few seasons, they gave it a glorious 10 year run + amazing website + unbelievably charming emails + special guest exhibits + newspapers + a crazy beautiful exhibit at P.S.1. The only thing missing - a complete catalogue and book of the wonderfulness they created. And like so many other things these days, when the hi-rise / Nike super store sent them packing, another irreplaceable piece of New York City left with them."
"Kiosk is a purveyor of delightful stories and unfamiliar objects that always seem just the right number of degrees out of register with the contemporary world."
"KIOSK is like...my mom's kitchen drawer,
my dad's tool box,
my grampa's garage,
a long-standing stationary shop in front of the school,
a hardware store in the middle of nowhere,
a souvenir shop in a rustic village..."
"It was my great pleasure to be involved with the outskirt shopping shenanigans of KIOSK, a not entirely secret repository of oddball and exquisite items not found in the mall(ed) precincts of NYC."
"Kiosk is stories, it's history, it's culture. What I've always loved about it is how each of these objects—which are beautiful or funny or fascinating on their own—helps to tell a story, or a series of stories, the likes of which, if you were to read enough of them, could tell you the whole history of the entire world. So it's like Borges's Book of Sand, but made up of stuff that's been fashioned by hand by an old man in Japan or made in a last-of-its-kind factory in Portugal: An infinite short-story collection you could get lost in forever."
"Kiosk is the way globalization should have worked - two people traveling the world and bringing back the goods to share with their friends."
"Kiosk- for easy access to the essential strata of our collective memory five and dime."
"The first time I came across Kiosk, it gave me faith in the modern commercial experience again. Measured but not precious, lighthearted but never gimmicky. Useful! They sold things I both wanted and often actually needed. I always wished they had groceries too. Their environment in New York exuded resourcefulness, curiosity, experimentation and great taste and was a complete reflection of the wonderful people that made it just so, Alisa and Marco. I really miss Kiosk!!!"
"Kiosk has the ability to remind you how extra ordinary the ordinary can be."
"Kiosk is a huge inspiration to me, please pay Alisa and Marco a realistic fee!"
"A selection that lives, grows and changes over time. Picked out by witty eyes and caring hands."
"Whether it’s obscure Scandinavian sweets, a Japanese switchblade, or a spool of kaleidoscopic Romanian rope, Kiosk is a receptacle of soon-to-be essential items you never knew you needed."
"KIOSK is the living embodiment of William Morris' dictum 'Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful'."
"KIOSK is a curated exhibition of unexpected artifacts, each pinned with its own story.
→ All of the artifacts are for sale."
"Kiosk is wonderful nonsense in the world of commerce."
"Kiosk is a place where I once saw Alex Zucker lying on the floor looking at the ceiling while listening to a poetry reading."
"Ever since discovering the magical grotto that was Kiosk at 95 Spring Street (thanks in part to the mysterious DIY signage on an otherwise swanky/souless block), I’ve been constantly amazed at the eye with which Alisa and Marco transform humble everyday objects into articles of aesthetic veneration."
-J.C (another one)
"Kiosk is a cultural project of the Everyday; an exercise in mindfulness through appreciation of household objects. Sourced with a keen eye, catalogued with wry humor, and traded with love: Alisa and Marco have panned for the treasure of the vernacular, and gifted their research to we curious. Each piece they sell hums a quiet tune of its own, and all together their cumulative sound is a lovely Song of Life. For anyone who can't walk past a foreign hardware store, or has crossed their fingers that their sugar bowl in a Greek pension came from the shop next door, Kiosk is as important as the Quai Branlys..And they give great parties!"
"Kiosk the world over."
"KIOSK have a unique vision and a wonderful eye."
"Kiosk is a collection of things I want to look at and live with, a totally unique synopsis of our material culture. "
Kiosk: Shopping = MFK Fisher: Cooking"
“Think globalization is making the world more predictable, boring, samey? Kiosk makes you think again."
"The creative vision for the platform was so impeccable from the get go. The travels, their studio time for anthropological experimentation and the search for great local production. The physical store, their installation space where objects and their stories would come together to create new life. I loved every part of it."
"Alisa and Marco have the rare and exquisite ability to present an everyday object in a way that it opens up a new world to you (and a glimpse to their own). The way they scout and carefully select objects, you had no idea you desired, is remarkable."
"Kiosk is an escape from the mundane, a journey to a far away place, a tactile meditation on ingenuity and culture."
"Inspiring creative energy in the most perfect tandem with incredible community energy."
"Kiosk is more than a store. Kiosk recovers the integrity of often very banal objects, like a bottle-opener or an onion basket, building relationships to the everyday-object and the everyday and by doing so making legible the conditions and the history of the objects that surround us and how standardized many of them have become."
"Kiosk traffics in sublime sleuthing for the super ordinary, an instant global bazaar for cultural resonance and artefactual fancy for you, for me, for us for all."
"Visiting Kiosk is like taking a trip to a foreign land. When I travel I visit supermarkets and hardware stores to see what everyday goods are like in other countries. Like Kiosk's selections from particular countries, this gives me a window into different cultures and customs. Over the years, I've assembled a short list of all-time favorite Kiosk products that I like to use every day: the Italian wire trivet, the woven wood Japanese cat toy, and the Shaker broom. When I use these objects, I can transport myself, just for a few minutes, to a far away land."